When we finally get to say goodbye to the cold temperatures, the first thing I want to do is get outside to enjoy the warm weather. What better way to enjoy the outdoors than hosting a backyard dinner party? I’ve got ALL the ideas you’ll need from tablescapes and decor to you backyard dinner party menu!
Al Fresco Dinner Party
Backyard dinner parties can also be called al fresco dining or in other words, to eat outside in the open air! So whether you call it a backyard dinner party or an al fresco dinner party, it means gathering your friends and family outside to enjoy a delicious meal. Count me in! Especially in the fall and spring when it’s a great time of year to dine outdoors.
Now that we know what to call it, let’s get to the backyard dinner party ideas! Read on for tips on backyard dinner party themes, menu ideas, tips for pesky bugs and more!
Backyard Dinner Party Ideas
Host a Backyard Grilling Dinner Party
There’s no better theme for backyard dining than a simple and classic grilling party. Let the food be the focus and grill up something delicious like skirt steak with a corn salsa.
Keep outdoor table decor simple with a few vases of flowers on a wooden, backyard dining table! Dining outdoors provides natural beauty all around so you don’t have to worry about setting a scene, even if your backyard is simple!
Host a Backyard Garden Dinner Party
Kick things up a notch with a gorgeous backyard garden party complete with mini charcuterie boards atop the place settings! Pretty pink hues and lots of fresh garden greenery stems are the perfect additions to dining alfresco in your garden.
Instead of a traditional table runner, you can use greenery stems to create the illusion of a natural table runner. Or keep it simple and let the food be your centerpiece!
This is the perfect backyard party idea for bridal showers, baby showers, etc.
Here is another floral themed garden dinner party. I just love the bright and vibrant flowers, and I purchased all of these straight from a couple of grocery store visits!
Bohemian Backyard Dinner Party
Set the stage with gorgeous balloons and string lights for a Bohemian themed backyard dinner party like this stunner from Life by Leanna! Set up a low table, but still keep it chic with fabric napkins and candle holders!
Backyard Beer Tasting Party
Take the dinner party theme one step farther and host a beer tasting! This idea is also perfect for wine tasting, bourbon tasting, you get the idea! It gives guests an activity to enjoy while eating and mingling. It’s always important to encourage guests to engage and a theme like beer tasting will certainly do the trick.
A Backyard Picnic for the Adults
You know why we always loved picnics as a kid? Eating outside! It’s a change of pace from the typical meals indoors (and you won’t have to look around at the dirty dishes or laundry). So elevate the typical picnic and host one for adults in the backyard.
Swap the ground seating for a table but definitely keep the fun checkered napkins! I hosted this simple dinner party in blue and white, and I love how it turned out!
Backyard Movie Night Party
Transform your outdoor space into an epic backyard movie theater with a projector, lanterns and charming details like these shown from Sugar & Cloth! What a magical evening!
Backyard Dinner Party: Meal Ideas
- Fajitas Bar
- Taco Bar
- Hot Dogs & Hamburgers
- Barbecue (Pulled Pork, Beef)
- Low Country Boil
- Oyster Roast
- Clam Bake
- Salad Bar
S’mores are a no brainer for a dinner party dessert in the backyard! Just gather around a fire pit and enjoy! Set up a s’mores bar and let guests build their own ultimate s’more!
See more of this gorgeous party above from My 100 Year Old Home.
Avoid Bugs at your Backyard Dinner Party
Let’s face it, pesky mosquitos will just about ruin your backyard dining experience. No one wants to be swatting at flies either. So how do you avoid bugs from ruining your outdoor dining?
- Set up fans which might also be welcome if temperatures get hot.
- Place little pots of herbs like mint, sage, lavender, basil – not only do they smell amazing but they act as a natural insect repellant!
- Aim for bowls and trays with lids to avoid those bugs that make their way to the dining area.
- Citronella Candles can help as well.
- Have bug spray on hand.
More Tips for your Backyard Dinner Party
Keep dietary restrictions in mind! Have friends with food allergies on the guest list? Be sure to plan the menu around your guest list to make everyone feel as comfortable as possible.
- Have enough food options.
- Consider dietary restrictions: dairy-free, vegetarian, vegan, keto, gluten-free
Prep in Advance
There’s nothing worse than a harried hostess. If it can be done in advance, do it! Prep the table, and if you’re unsure of the weather forecast in advance, then have all your backyard dining supplies in boxes or containers for easy “grabbing” to set outside when it’s time.
- Have a rain plan. Weather happens. You might have to move your backyard dinner party indoors so just be sure you have space.
- Consider menu choices that don’t need too much prep work. Choose simply desserts like a gourmet ice cream bar (scoop the ice cream in advance and keep on a cookie sheet in the freezer).
- Always grab an extra bag of ice!
- Kids in attendance? Have a big bucket of sidewalk chalk, bubbles, jump ropes, etc to keep kids busy so your adult guests can enjoy dinner.
- Don’t forget the music! Plan out a soundtrack to play while guests are enjoying themselves, or find a Spotify station to fit the theme of the party!
Grab your closest friends and enjoy the outdoors with a backyard dinner party!